Space News in Brief 23 January 2022

Intelsat, Thales Alenia Space, OHB, LuxSpace, OQ Technology, Plus Ultra, ispace, NanoAvionics

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(PHOTO: SpaceX)

Intelsat acquires satellites from Thales Alenia Space for 5G network: Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, and Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 percent) and Leonardo (33 percent) have signed an agreement to build two software-defined satellites designed to advance Intelsat’s global fabric of software-defined GEO connectivity as part of its 5G software-defined network. The addition of the Thales Alenia Space software-defined satellites represents an essential advancement in Intelsat’s 5G software-defined network designed to enable greater agility, flexibility and orchestration across edge, satellite and core. Named Intelsat 41 (IS-41) and Intelsat 44 (IS-44), the two next-generation software-defined satellites are scheduled to be in service in 2025. They will join two Airbus constructed software-defined satellites, Intelsat 42 (IS-42) and Intelsat 43 (IS-43), announced January 8, 2021. Intelsat 41 and Intelsat 44 will be based on the Thales Alenia Space’s innovative Space Inspire product line allowing seamless telecommunications mission and services reconfiguration, instant in-orbit adjustment to broadband connectivity demand, and superior video broadcasting performance while maximizing the effective use of the satellite resources. The contract enables the continued advancement of Intelsat’s planned global software-defined satellite-based network, adding high-speed dynamically-allocated connectivity across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for commercial and government mobility services and cellular backhaul.

OHB, LuxSpace, OQ Technology sign MOU: OHB, one of Europe’s leading space companies, its subsidiary LuxSpace, a provider of space systems, applications and services, and OQ Technology, a global satellite operator, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore opportunities in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) service sector. The cooperation between LuxSpace, OHB and OQ will include satellite-based IoT upstream and downstream activities to enhance the portfolio of services available to customers in different markets, including, but not limited to, energy, agriculture, defence and the green economy. Following the signature of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) under the ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications System) programme, LuxSpace is developing a flexible microsatellite platform, Triton-X. With a launch mass of around 200 kg, high performing on-board processing and the optimisation for rideshare missions, Triton-X is perfectly suited for accommodating OQ’s 5G IoT payload in low Earth orbit (LEO). At the completion of the development phase, the platform is expected to be ready for manufacturing and integration of payloads by mid-2023. OQ’s “cell towers in space” and the company’s services are ideal for applications requiring fast and real-time data processing in remote and rural areas, particularly in industries such as oil & gas, logistics, mining, artificial intelligence, drone control, vehicle telematics and defence. The agreement will also take into account the use of other OHB space systems for the benefit of OQ.

Plus Ultra and ispace aim comms plan at the moon: Plus Ultra Space Outposts (Plus Ultra), a European company developing a lunar satellite constellation, and ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European branch of ispace, Inc., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint lunar missions. The MoU includes the transport and deployment of satellites into lunar orbit, as early as 20241, to provide communications and navigations services. Plus Ultra and ispace intend to combine their complementary capabilities to further explore the possibilities of commercial space resources on the Moon and in lunar orbit. Under the terms of the MoU, ispace would transport Plus Ultra’s lunar communication satellites as customer payloads to the Moon. In return, Plus Ultra would provide lunar communications and navigation services to ispace, among other potential collaborations. Plus Ultra is planning to launch a lunar satellite constellation called “Harmony” to provide continuous, high-speed communications of up to 100 Mbps between any location on or around the Moon, including cislunar orbit, and anywhere on Earth. With plans to begin operations in 20241, Harmony is envisioned to optimize the navigation of space vehicles, such as those operated by ispace, as well as for commercial and governmental operators of landers, rovers, space tugs, and larger transportation systems on and around the lunar surface, with the aim of enabling a whirlwind of activity on the Moon that ushers in a new era for the space economy.

NanoAvionics launches three satellites aboard SpaceX Transporter-3 mission: NanoAvionics, a leading smallsat manufacturer and mission integrator, confirmed the reception of signals and healthy telemetry data from all of the three satellites launched into low Earth orbit via the successful SpaceX Transporter-3 mission. The rideshare mission that went into orbit on 13 January 2022 included one of the largest and heaviest CubeSats ever built and launched. The 16U small satellite, is the first of five satellites, contracted to NanoAvionics by British company Sen, to establish video streaming media to provide real-time Ultra-High Definition (UHD) videos of Earth. Also aboard the Falcon-9 rocket was HYPSO-1, a 6U nanosatellite built for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), to conduct ocean research. From its Sun-synchronous orbit, HYPSO-1 (HYPer-spectral Satellite for ocean Observation) will monitor algal blooms and other aspects of ocean health in an autonomous synergy with robotic agents around the Norwegian coast. It is the first of the two satellites NanoAvionics will supply to the programme. The third NanoAvionics built satellite that went into low Earth orbit (LEO) onboard Transporter-3 is the 3U IoT nanosatellite DEWA-SAT 1. It is part of DEWA’s (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority) Space-D programme and will support the digitalisation of Dubai’s power and water networks. Through an ambitious programme and with the expertise of NanoAvionics, DEWA intends to enhance its flexibility and agility in monitoring and managing its electrical and water networks. Through Space-D, DEWA also expects to reduce costs, improve its asset utilisation and provide sustainable, efficient and reliable power and water services to its customers.

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